For those lacking in worksite or workshop experience, it might seem like a standard pair of blue jeans is the ideal option for work pants. And while a sturdy pair of Levi’s might get you through your day, they’re actually not the best option around. Despite their depiction in popular culture as the go-to garment for construction workers, blue jeans can actually stain easily, wear out fairly quickly when worn for work, and aren’t really all that resistant to anything — be that abrasion, exposure to the elements, or otherwise.
If you do spend a lot of time doing manual labor, then you probably already know that your best friend, in regards to garments, is a pair of job-appropriate work pants. Typically, these bottoms are made from ultra-tough, sometimes-coated synthetic materials that are a good deal tougher and more resistant to exposure than traditional textiles. They’re also often equipped with a few bonuses — like tool-specific pockets or a cut that supports wearing knee pads — to help elevate their value even further. If this sounds like the thing for which you’re searching, we’ve put together the following list of the ten best work pants for men.
5.11 Tactical Taclite Pro Performance Pants
Crafted from a combination of polyester and ripstop fabric, the Taclite Pro Performance Pants from 5.11 Tactical are a good deal lighter and more comfortable than a bulky pair of blue jeans, but they’re also a measure tougher. This is because they’re also Teflon-treated for even more durability than they already have. They also feature a gusseted construction for a greater range of motion, eight pockets so you can keep your gear on-hand and organized, and they feature heavy-duty hardware and YKK zippers.
Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Pants
Though they’re primarily known for their outdoor gear, Patagonia also offers one of the best pairs of work pants out there. Constructed from the brand’s proprietary and innovative 12.9-oz Iron Forge Hemp canvas, these pants are rugged as hell (25% more durable than traditional duck canvas), eco-friendly, and features Fair Trade Certified sewing. If you want a pair of ultra-tough work pants but you also care about their origins and materials, go no further.
Carhartt Rugged Flex Steel Cargo Pants
It’s practically a given that legendary workwear brand Carhartt deserves a spot on this list. But even if these pants didn’t have their name stamped on them, they’d still probably be featured here. That’s because they boast a construction of a combination of Cordura nylon, cotton, and spandex ripstop for comfort and extreme durability day-in and day-out. They also boast reinforcement points for even more ruggedness, a wealth of pockets for all your gear and tool, and they have articulated knees for comfort even when you need to squat or stretch.
Taylor Stitch The Camp Pant
Most work pants look like, well, work pants — with cargo-style pockets, reinforced knees, and more. But when the style icons at Taylor Stitch decided they were going to make a pair, they decided to subdue the styling to create a pair that were still rugged enough to wear in the workshop, but handsome enough that you could wear them to a boardroom meeting — at least in theory. We think the Camp Pant certainly fits the bill with its hemp, polyester, cotton, and spandex construction; a quartet of bar-tacked pockets; and rugged YKK hardware.
Topo Designs Work Pants
Like Patagonia, Topo Designs is undoubtedly most well-known for their catalog of outdoor-focused gear. But that’s hardly their only expertise. In fact, they also make plenty of urban apparel, everyday carry bags, and their impressive Work Pants that you see here. Crafted from American-made duck canvas, these USA-made bottoms are durable enough to weather any workshop, but they’re also comfortable, feature reinforcements for extra durability where necessary, and they’ve got a complement of pockets for all your gear — EDC or otherwise.
1620 Double Knee Utility Pants
If there’s anyone who knows the rigors of the job site, it’s American craftsman — which is likely why 1620 built their Double Knee Utility Pants in the United States with locally-sourced fabric. Ultra-rugged in all the right ways and places, these work pants boast a comfortable modern fit, an articulated knee and gusseted crotch for a better range of motion than competitors, a complement of organizational pockets for all your tools and everyday carry, and a durable water/oil/stain repellent finish.
Edgevale Cast Iron Utility Pant 2.0
Edgevale built their Cast Iron Utility Pants to be the “ultimate do-anything, go-anywhere work pant.” And while we’re not quite ready to take that leap, they’re definitely amongst the best out there. That’s because they’re built with a proprietary mix of cotton and Cordura nylon that feels comfortable to the touch but has legendary levels of durability and toughness. And while the original versions of these pants were excellent, edition 2.0 has a better fit, signature pockets, and Cordura reinforcements.
Filson Oil Finish Double Tin Pants
Filson got their start making work clothes for the blue-collar pioneers of the Alaskan Gold Rush. As such, they have a generational understanding of the needs of workwear and their style is somehow both modern and retro — offering the best of both worlds. Their Oil Finish Double Tin Pants are actually the toughest the brand makes, boasting a tin cloth construction that’s water-repellent and abrasion-resistant. It’s also double-stitched and bar-tacked for extra durability where you need it.
Mission Workshop The Fuller Work Pants
Though clearly on the more premium end of the spectrum, there’s no denying Mission Workshop’s dedication to extremely well-built gear. And their Fuller work pants are certainly no exception to that rule. These tailored pants feature a 4-way stretch for the utmost in comfort — even when you’re squatting down — but their cotton, polyamide, and elastane construction with its DWR finish offers up plenty of durability, as well. Mate that with six pockets, a hammer loop, and more and it’s clear to see MW does not disappoint at all.
Vollebak 100 Year Pants
Most people will scoff at the idea of spending $645 on a pair of work pants. But those folks probably also aren’t informed on just how absolutely indestructible Vollebak’s 100 Year Pants are. As you might’ve gathered from the name, these bottoms are made to last for a century — even with hard use. In fact, their fabric is so tough, it was originally developed for the military with the aim of allowing the wearer to walk through blazing-hot fire unscathed. Yet it’s still soft, stretchy, windproof, water-repellent, and breathable. It might seem too good to be true, but Vollebak stands by their claim and they’ve certainly got the reputation to back it up.
The 40 Tools Every Man Should Own
If you’re going to be wearing work pants, you should probably try actually putting them to work. That’s much easier to manage if you’re in possession of the 40 tools every man should own.